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Rahsaan Roland Kirk
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    (August 7, 1935-December 5, 1977)
    Born in Columbus, Ohio
    Birth name was Ronald Theodore Kirk
    Jazz saxophonist and flutist
    Recorded the albums ‘Introducing Roland Kirk’ (1960), ‘Kirk’s Work’ (1961), ‘Reeds and Deeds’ (1963), ‘I Talk with the Spirits’ (1964), ‘Rip, Rig, and Panic’ (1965), ‘Left & Right’ (1968), ‘Volunteered Slavery’ (1969), ‘A Meeting of the Times’ (with Al Hibbler, 1972), ‘The Case of the 3 Sided Dream in Audio Color’ (1975), and ‘Kirkatron’ (1977)
    He changed his name based on commands that came to him in dreams.
    He called what he played ‘black classical music’ rather than jazz.
    He incorporated non-musical items, such as alarm clocks, sirens, or a length of garden hose (dubbed ‘the black mystery pipes’), in his recordings.
    He went blind at age two, possibly due to improper medical care.
    He could play up to three instruments at once, harmonizing with himself.
    When Jay Leno was his opening act, he would introduce the comedian by saying, ‘I want to introduce a young brother who knows the black experience and knows all about the white devils .... Please welcome Jay Leno!.’
    Although he suffered a stroke that partially paralyzed one side of his body (1975), he continued performing after modifying his instruments so he could play with one hand.
    He influenced Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull and Frank Zappa.

Credit: C. Fishel

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